Principalities & Powersrnby Samuel FrancisrnThe Truth About RepubHcansrnand HispanicsrnSaying “I told you so” is never very polite,rnbut sometimes, especially when trying tornexplain things to the Republican Part-,rnit’s advisable to say it. For the last yearrnor so, the Republicans and their petrneggheads have been telling each otherrnthat they had just better shut up aboutrnimmigration, immigration reform, andrnimmigration restriction because any furtherrntalk about these subjects will onlyrnalienate the Hispanic vote, and the partyrncan’t afford to do that. Those who haverncrafted this argument seem to have arngood many compelling reasons to offerrnin support of it, but when their reasonsrnare examined closely, most of them fallrnapart. The truth is that those pushing therncase against Republican support for immigrationrnreform have never been in favorrnof controlling immigration an)’way,rnand man}’ of the reasons the}’ offer in thernguise of hard-headed political realismrnare the results of their own delusionsrnabout the nature of mass immigration intornthe United States. Insofar as the Republicansrntoday face a serious politicalrncrisis because of their loss of the Hispanicrnvote, if s because they have studiouslyrnignored the immigration issue for the lastrn20 years or so or have actually been onrnthe wrong side of it. Supporters of immigrationrnrestriction such as myself and PeterrnBrimelow have been warning the parti’rnfor years of the ven’ crisis its leaders arernnow moaning about; the crisis exists becausernthey didn’t listen to those whornurged them to face the problem before itrnbecame a crisis. Now, if I tell them, “Irntold you so,” it’s because they still havernone last chance for action that will avertrnthe crisis and resolve the immigrationrnproblem the countr}’ faces.rnThe new case against immigration reformrnkicked off in 1996, soon after thernRepublicans lost the presidential election.rnThe first to concoct the new argumentrnseems to ha’e been Wall StreetrnJournal columnist Paul Gigot, who wasrnsoon followed by neoconservative LindarnChavez. Both Gigot and Chavez arernlong-time boosters of immigration, thernformer in part because of his adherencernto a libertarian ideology that regards nationalrnborders as the political equivalentrnof propeller aircraft, and the latter in partrnbecause of her self-professed identityrnas an Hispanic. Given their ideologicalrnand ethnic biases, their argument againstrnimmigration control ought to be receivedrnwith some skepticism, but theyrnare not the only ones to make it, and thernargument itself contains demonstrablernflaws.rnThe essence of their argument is thatrnHispanic voters in the last electionrnswung heavilv to Bill Clinton and againstrnthe Republicans, a trend that supposedlyrnindicates the emergence of a monolithicrnHispanic political bloc in the Democraticrnpocket that threatens the Republicanrnfuture.rnIn California, the Hispanic populationrnnow numbers about 30 percent ofrnthe state, and in Orange County, long arnRepublican stronghold, it representsrnabout 25 percent. The Republicans cannotrnhope to win presidential electionsrnwithout California —it has gone Republicanrnin even’ election Republicans havernwon since 1948 —and they cannot hopernto win California without Orange Count}’.rnBy the year 2025, the Hispanic part ofrnthe state’s population will be 43 percentrnof the total, and 30 percent of the votingagernpopulation will be Hispanic by thernyear 2000.rnCalifornia, however, is not the onlyrnalarm bell to ring in Republican ears.rnFlorida and Texas also contain manyrnHispanics, and Clinton carried the formerrnstate despite the traditional allegiancernof Cuban emigres to the more anticommunistrnRepublicans. In Arizona,rnwhich had voted Republican in everyrnpresidential election year since 1948,rnHispanics helped Clinton win in 1996rnby three percentage points. In Texas,rnwith a Hispanic voting-age population ofrnabout 12 percent, Hispanic voting increasedrnby about 60 percent in 1996; inrnCalifornia, where Hispanics are now 15rnpercent of the voting-age population, thernHispanic part of the vote in 1996 increasedrnby 40 percent. These are worstcasernscenarios in large states that are electoralrnmammoths where Hispanics arernconcentrated, but even in smaller statesrnwhere Hispanics are fewer, the samerntrend toward greater Hispanic voting participationrnand more Hispanic support forrnthe Democrats appeared.rnThe Hispanic swing to the Democratsrnwas due, according to the Ne-^v YorkrnTimes, to several factors, among them “arnsharp increase in the number of Hispanicrnimmigrants becoming citizens aird arnpush by the Democrats to get them registeredrnand get them to the polls” (a pushrnthat may have involved the deliberaternand illegal naturalization of immigrantsrnb’ the Clinton WTiite House to enhancernits Hispanic support), but it also supposedlyrnwas due to Hispanic fear of Republicanrnsupport for immigration restrictions.rnOne may take this report for what it isrnworth. The Times stor’ failed to quoternan’ specific nonpartisan “expert” to supportrnits claim that COP involvementrnwith immigration reform caused thernalienation of Hispanic voters, and Propositionrn187, which passed overwhelminglyrnin 1994, was not especially “severe”: itrnmerely cut public benefits to illegal immigrantsrnand did not affect legal immigrantsrnor immigration at all.rnRepublican foes of immigration controlrnlike Gigot and Chavez were quick tornseize on these trends as evidence that thernGOP had just better forget about immigrationrnaltogether. They also cited therndeclining Hispanic support for CaliforniarnGovernor Pete Wilson, who wonrnelection in 1990 with 44 percent of thernHispanic vote but took only aboutrn25 percent when he ran on an antiimmigrationrnand pro-Proposition 187rnplatform in 1994 (and pulled himselfrnfrom his political grave). One state pollrnrecently showed that the current GOPrnfavorite for succeeding Wilson as governor,rnstate Attorney General Dan Lungren,rnenjoys the support of only 14 percentrnof the state’s Hispanics.rnWhatever the reality of the Hispanicrnanti-Republican backlash. Republicanrnperception of it as real has served to stranglernany inclinations the national part}’rnmight have felt to restrict immigration.rnIn 1997, rabidly pro-immigration SenatorrnSpencer Abraham (R-MI) succeededrnthe mildly pro-restrictionist Senator AlanrnSimpson as chairman of the Senate JudiciaryrnCommittee’s Immigration Sub-rn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn